It was the day when Private Equity firms – the smart money, the great beneficiaries of the Fed’s bond-buying binge – announced their intentions to the rest of the world. The heavy hitters were there, and they let fly some pungent words. In short, they were “selling everything that’s not nailed down.” Turns out, they weren’t kidding.
Governments, corporations, even that genius app developer in Russia have one thing in common: they want to know everything. Data is power. And money. As the Snowden debacle has shown, they’re getting there. Technologies for gathering information, then hoarding it, mining it, and using it are becoming phenomenally effective and cheap. But it’s not perfect.
In theory, the Fed could continue to print money and buy Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities, even pure junk, until the bitter end. But the bitter end would be unpleasant for those that the Fed represents – and now they’re speaking up publicly. They’re worried that their system might break down. It would threaten their empires. It would be the bitter end.
Keyhole Inc., a venture-capital funded startup, was acquired by Google in 2004. Its product became Google Earth. Its technology filtered into Google Maps and Google Mobile. One of the venture-capital investors? The CIA. It didn’t ruffle any feathers at the time. But now we have NSA leaker Edward Snowden and his media blitz.
Japan’s make-or-break economic policies have been named lovingly after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – lovingly, because if they fail, he gets to carry an albatross called Abenomics around his neck for the rest of his life. And one of the “three arrows” of Abenomics is already headed that way: goosing the economy through a frontal attack in the Currency War.
Fed Chairman Bernanke and his ilk refuse to see the connection. They’re too busy ogling inflation in the US that is suspiciously low. But China has its eyes riveted on the revolt in Brazil. Like all revolts, it’s about deep-seated issues and inequalities, but the spark that lit it – after inflation had made life too expensive – was an increase in bus fares.
“We’ve intentionally blown the biggest government bond bubble in history,” confessed Andy Haldane, Director of Financial Stability at the Bank of England. The bursting of that bubble was a risk he felt “acutely.” He saw “a disorderly reversion” as the “biggest risk to global financial stability.” Seatbelts are being fastened; the clicks can be heard around the world.
France vetoed the launch of free-trade negotiations between the EU and the US, though France has racked up a big trade surplus with the US and has much to lose. The problem: cultural protectionism. It wants “an explicit exclusion of the audio-visual sector.” A catch phrase for American movies! And a theme that is in the DNA of the French political class.
The Japanese stock market has become a case study of central-bank manipulations, and of what happens eventually as reality cannot be eliminated forever. What you hear is a giant hissing sound. What you get is capital destruction and wealth transfer.
Abenomics has its detractors – in peculiar places – and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe must be experiencing some interesting pillow talk. His wife has attacked one of the major components of his economic policies, the nuclear power industry.